Fiat has just released photos of their 500 Cabrio, the open-top version of their much-lauded 500 hatchback, a week ahead of its official debut at the New York Auto Show.
Rather than a traditional convertible body style like the MINI Cooper, the 500 uses a retractable canvas roof panel that still retains the overall shape of the 500, similar to the original Fiat 500′s own soft-top variant. While Fiat hasn’t given an explanation for the mechanical benefits of such a design, it’s not hard to believe that this setup has structural benefits that can only come from leaving the roof rails and side pillars intact. The design of the top also allows it to be lowered at speeds of up to 60 mph, while traditional convertibles often require much lower speeds.
The 500 Cabrio will be available in Pop, Sport and Lounge trim levels with cruise control, power windows and locks and air conditioning standard across the range. Sport models come with more aggressive front and rear bumpers and a recalibrated suspension. Lounge models get chrome accents, leather seats, 15-inch wheels and a new 6-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode.
Stay tuned to AutoGuide’s live coverage of the 2011 New York Auto Show for more coverage.